Probando el nuevo Plasma 5.20 en Arch Linux

Hoy me complace compartir con vosotros un vídeo titulado «Probando el nuevo Plasma 5.20 en Arch Linux» donde podemos ver y escuchar la opinión de otro «converso» al que el proyecto KDE ha convencido. ¡KDE Rocks»

Probando el nuevo Plasma 5.20 en Arch Linux

Que Plasma, el escritorio de la Comunidad KDE, cada vez es más famoso es algo innegable. Con cada versión gana rapidez, eficiencia y funcionalidades al tiempo que reduce el consumo de recursos fruto del trabajo colectivo.

Probando el nuevo Plasma 5.20 en Arch Linux

Es por ello que me gusta compartir vídeo donde se analiza su funcionamiento como este de CanalTic «Probando el nuevo Plasma 5.20 en Arch Linux» en el que nos cuenta de una forma pausada las razones por las que le ha decidido utilizar KDE Neon (siendo el consumo de recursos descendiente su gran baza) y repasa las novedades de Plasma 5.20.

Las novedades básicas de Plasma 5.20

Os dejo las novedades más destacada de esta nueva versión son:

  • La barra de tareas por defecto será la de Solo Iconos, y además será un poco más ancho (una de las primeras cosas que suelo cambiar cuando configuro mi escritorio)
  • Las visualizaciones en pantalla (OSD) que aparecen al cambiar el volumen o el brillo de la pantalla (por ejemplo) se han rediseñado para ser menos intrusivas.
  • Ahora se notifica cuando el sistema está a punto de agotar el espacio incluso si el directorio personal es a una partición diferente.
  • Ahora se pueden componer mosaicos con las esquinas de las ventanas combinando los atajos de mosaico izquierda/derecha/arriba/abajo. Por ejemplo, pulsando Meta+flecha arriba y después la flecha izquierda para hacer el mosaico de una ventana a la esquina superior izquierda.
  • Las páginas de Configuración de Inicio automático, Bluetooth, y Gestión de usuarios se han rediseñado según los estándares modernos de interfaz de usuario y se han reescrito desde cero.
  • Notificaciones de monitorización y fallo de discos S.M.A.R.T

Script en #Bash que crea una imagen con mosaicos de miniaturas de un vídeo

Este script en Bash es capaz de tomar 25 instantáneas de un archivo de vídeo y crear una imagen en formato .png con el mosaico de todas ellas.

¿Cómo saber qué hay en un vídeo si no empezamos a reproducirlo? Estaría bien, tener un “resumen” de lo que pasa en diferentes partes del vídeo para no tener que reproducirlo e ir avanzando por el vídeo.

Con este sencillo script de Bash, gracias a herramientas como ffmpeg e ImageMagick, de manipulación de vídeo e imágenes desde la línea de comandos nos ahorrará esa tarea de reproducir y buscar en el vídeo.

El script en cuestión, toma 25 instantáneas de diferentes partes del vídeo y compone un archivo que tiene el mismo nombre que el vídeo que hemos procesado pero con extensión .png con esas instantáneas dispuestas en mosaico.

Así, abriendo ese archivo desde un visor de imágenes (ya que estamos en la línea de comandos, quizás feh puede ser lo que queremos) veremos de un vistazo capturas de distintas partes del vídeo que nos ayude a saber qué hay dentro.

Tiene ciertas limitaciones, ya que solo se puede hacer un vídeo cada vez y no unos cuantos con un solo comando, pero es algo que se puede solucionar fácilmente.

El script llamado video-gallery está alojado en un repositorio en GitHub. Lo descargaremos o clonaremos en nuestro equipo y le daremos permisos de ejecución. Yo lo descargaré y le llamaré vg.sh:

El vídeo lo ubicaremos en nuestra carpeta de vídeos, o en una ruta de nuestro $PATH para poder invocarlo desde cualquier ruta de nuestro equipo como si fuera un comando.

Para utilizarlo simplemente ejecutaremos (deberemos tener instalado ffmpeg e ImageMagik)

./vg.sh nombre_del_vídeo.mp4

Dependiendo de la duración del vídeo tardará más o menos el proceso. Yo lo he probado con formatos .avi, .mkv, .mp4, .webm y con todos me ha funcionado. El archivo creará un archivo con el mismo nombre del archivo .png.

Podemos abrir el archivo .png y veremos el resultado, que será algo como esto:

Algo que nos puede ser útil a la hora de clasificar vídeos personales que tengamos, con este mosaico de capturas del vídeo en cuestión. ¿es lo que estabas buscando? Comparte en los comentarios.

Nov 5th, 2020

openSUSE Developers Kickoff Leap 15.3

Members of the openSUSE community are separated by great distances, but that didn’t keep them from coming together virtually on Nov. 4 to kickoff the development of the next release;openSUSE Leap 15.3! Several people attended the kickoff, which lasted a couple hours, and the kickoff started with a video from Release Manager Lubos Kocman. The kickoff video shared some news about the development and shared the Roadmap.

Leap 15.3 follows the same setup established in the Open Build Service for the openSUSE prototype Jump, which is a new way for building the community distribution using SUSE Linux Enterprise sources and binaries to make the distributions virtually alike.

Members of the release team attended and many aspects of the new development model were clarified for those who attended.

Questions from package maintainers and people with use cases were addressed.

The group of developers discussed topics like parallel versions of package, marketing of the release, bug tracking, tools and a new soft launch of the Open Source software code hosting system Pagure tool used by Fedora, which was recently integrated into openSUSE infra.

Nov 4th, 2020

El canal de youtube de KDE España llega a los 600 subscriptores

Hemos de reconocerlo, los números de los proyectos del Software Libre no suelen ser extremadamente altos, aunque afortundadamente hay excepciones. Por ello me complace compartir con todos vosotros la noticia de que el canal de youtube de KDE España llega a los 600 subscriptores, un número no demasiado alto en comparación con otros canales pero que supera las expectativas que teníamos cuando lo iniciamos.

El canal de youtube de KDE España llega a los 600 subscriptores

El fenómeno youtubers hace un par de años que ha explotado en España: han publicado libros, hacen anuncios, son los ídolos de los niños y niñas e incluso ya se producen polémicas en torno a ellos. En definitiva, se han convertido en nuevos «influencers», otra palabra que añadimos a nuestro idioma.

El canal de youtube de KDE España llega a los 500 subscriptores

KDE España y su canal de Youtube no aspira a convertirse en influencer pero siempre ha querido llegar al máximo número de personas posibles y por ello está de enhorabuena al llegar a los 600 subscriptores, una cifra que empieza a ser importante y significativa.

De esta forma, gracias a casi los 100 vídeos que se han subido ya,  el canal se ha convertido en un escaparate de los proyectos de la Comunidad KDE donde se alojan tanto los vídeos de las charlas de las Akademy-es (cuyo sonido hemos de mejorar, lo sabemos), como los podcasts mensuales, los vídeos de los eventos de la Barcelona FreeSoftware y otros sueltos.

Es el momento de agradecer a todos y cada uno de los subscriptores del canal, así como todos y cada uno de los comentarios y «likes» que se generan en cada vídeo subido. Al tiempo que hago un llamamiento general a que participéis de forma más activa: necesitamos colaboradores, editores, promotores, etc… cualquier tipo de ayuda es bienvenida. Podéis poneros en contacto con nosotros en el grupo de Telegram de Cañas y Bravas o enviando un correo a la asociación.

Installing syslog-ng in Amazon Linux 2, including Graviton2

Amazon Linux 2 is just one of many Linux distributions and other operating systems running in AWS. As Amazon Linux 2 is a close relative of RHEL 7 / CentOS 7, the user experience is also very close to these operating systems. All you need to learn is an extra command for enabling EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux). Best of all: the very same commands work both on x86 and Graviton2 (Arm/Aarch64) instances.

Before you begin

These instructions are valid only for Amazon Linux 2, so before you begin, make sure that you are running Amazon Linux 2, and not one of the many other Linux distributions or FreeBSD also available on AWS.

You also need to decide which syslog-ng version you want to use. There are two possibilities:

  • EPEL has syslog-ng version 3.5. EPEL is a semi-official repository for RHEL/CentOS users, maintained by Fedora developers. There are many interesting new features missing from this release, but it works and receives occasional fixes without the need to upgrade the version. This version is widely accepted even by companies with strict repository policies.

  • Latest, unofficial syslog-ng package from a personal repository. It has all the latest features, but it is not officially supported, and if you run into a problem, most of the time it is fixed only in the next syslog-ng release. While not officially supported, tens of thousands of machines run these packages, as it has support for JSON parsing, Elasticsearch, various LaaS (Logging as a Service) providers and many other technologies.

Installing syslog-ng from EPEL

The following command enables the EPEL repository on Amazon Linux 2:

amazon-linux-extras install epel

From here, the process is pretty much the same as on any other RHEL 7 / CentOS 7 system. You install syslog-ng using yum, and then use systemctl to enable and start it. Finally, remove rsyslog (or at least stop and disable it) to avoid confusion, like duplicated log messages.

yum install syslog-ng
systemctl enable syslog-ng
systemctl start syslog-ng
yum erase rsyslog

Installing unofficial syslog-ng packages

Installing the unofficial syslog-ng packages is almost the same process as installing them from EPEL. The reason is that some of the dependencies are actually coming from the EPEL repository. There is just one additional step: enabling the unofficial syslog-ng repository. The current latest syslog-ng version is 3.29, so – once you enable EPEL – you can download the repo file with the following commands:

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
wget https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/czanik/syslog-ng329/repo/epel-7/czanik-syslog-ng329-epel-7.repo

You can check the latest available version by looking at https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/czanik/ and read more about the various repositories at https://www.syslog-ng.com/community/b/blog/posts/overview-of-syslog-ng-rpm-repositories Note that not all repositories have Aarch64 support enabled. Let me know either on Twitter or GitHub issues if you need Aarch64, but it is not enabled for the given repository.

Once the unofficial repository is enabled, installing syslog-ng is the same process as with the basic EPEL package.

Testing

After installation, you should do at least some minimal testing. The method below works both with EPEL and unofficial packages, as it only tests local log sending using the default configuration.

# systemctl status syslog-ng
● syslog-ng.service - System Logger Daemon
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/syslog-ng.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Mon 2020-11-02 13:44:28 UTC; 5s ago
     Docs: man:syslog-ng(8)
 Main PID: 9245 (syslog-ng)
   CGroup: /system.slice/syslog-ng.service
           └─9245 /usr/sbin/syslog-ng -F -p /var/run/syslogd.pid

Finally, send a test message to it and check if the message arrived successfully in /var/log/messages:

# logger this is a test
# tail -1 /var/log/messages
Nov  2 13:44:56 ip-1-2-3-4.us-east-2.compute.internal ec2-user[9250]: this is a test

What is next?

Once syslog-ng is up and running in your test environment, you should prepare for the next steps:

  • The default syslog-ng configuration collects log messages locally, while the main strengths of syslog-ng are central log collection and its many destination drivers. Centralize your logs using syslog-ng, and after careful processing and filtering, forward them for further analysis.

  • The steps above detailed how to install syslog-ng manually, while in a production environment, syslog-ng should be installed and configured using your favorite configuration management system.

If you have questions or comments related to syslog-ng, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us by email or even chat with us. For a list of possibilities, check our GitHub page under the “Community” section at https://github.com/syslog-ng/syslog-ng. On Twitter, I am available as @PCzanik.

Mostrar en el editor Vim un índice al editar archivos Markdown

Veamos cómo hacer que Vim nos muestre un índice de los títulos o cabeceras de un archivo en formato Markdown para poder saltar rápidamente a la sección que queremos

Markdown es un sencillo lenguaje de marcado para textos que se utiliza en muchos sitios y de muchas formas. Es sencillo de aprender, versátil y funcional. Aquí tienes un pequeño tutorial para aprender desde cero:

Y la edición de textos en Markdown es una de las principales tareas que realizo en el editor Vim. Si la edición de textos en Markdown también para ti es una tarea habitual este tutorial te será de interés.

Este artículo es una nueva entrega del curso “improVIMsado” que desde hace meses vengo publicando en mi blog sobre el editor Vim y que puedes seguir en estos enlaces:

Hace unos días en Mastodon el usuario jartigag compartía un pequeño truco con el que Vim nos mostrará un índice de los títulos o cabeceras de un archivo en formato Markdown.

Una vez presentado el índice con el número de línea y el título correspondiente, podremos saltar rápidamente a la sección que queremos.

El truco en cuestión se trata de escribir el siguiente comando. Abre un archivo en Markdown con Vim y escribe:

:g/^#/#

Verás que Vim te abre en la parte inferior una lista de los títulos o cabeceras de todos los niveles que componen ese archivo. Para saltar a una determinada sección, nos fijaremos en el número de línea de la parte izquierda y lo escribiremos anteponiendo los dos puntos:

:42

Pero vayamos un paso más allá. En vez de escribir ese comando cada vez que queramos, mejor añadirle una tecla rápida junto con la tecla <leader> de Vim en el archivo .vimrc y así ahorrarnos pulsaciones de teclas y el comando, que la verdad no es muy intuitivo…

Así en mi archivo .vimrc he añadido lo siguiente:

" mostrar un listado de los titulos en archivos markdown <leader>+t
nnoremap t :g/^#/# <cr>

Con esto pulsando la tecla <leader> (que en mi caso es el espacio) + la tecla t (puedes escoger otra, yo he optado por esta por “titulo” como regla mnemotécnica) ejecutará el comando y nos mostrará el listado.

El <cr> final es el símbolo interno de Vim para el Enter, por lo que escribirá el comando y “pulsará” Enter para que sea ejecutado.

Un truco muy sencillo y muy efectivo y útil sin necesidad de instalar complementos. Simplemente utilizando Vim y sus propias herramientas.

asciicast

Εγκατάσταση Μαθηματικού Λογισμικού SageMath σε διανομές GNU/Linux

SageMath Logo

ΠΡΟΛΟΓΟΣ

Πολλοί φοιτητές των Ελληνικών Πανεπιστημίων, διδάσκονται μαθηματικά λογισμικά που πιθανό να τα χρησιμοποιήσουν στην εργασία τους. Από τη στιγμή που διδάσκονται, πρέπει να δίνεται η δυνατότητα να εξασκηθούν στο σπίτι. Εάν τα λογισμικά αυτά είναι εμπορικά, αυτό σημαίνει ότι χρειάζεται και άδεια χρήσης. Η άδεια αυτή κοστίζει αρκετά χρήματα, ειδικά αν πρέπει να δοθεί και στους φοιτητές.

Στον αντίποδα, υπάρχουν μαθηματικά λογισμικά ανοικτού κώδικα που μπορούν να αντικαταστήσουν τα εμπορικά λογισμικά στην διαδικασία της διδασκαλίας. Ίσως, να μπορεί να γίνει η αντικατάσταση αυτή και στον παραγωγικό τομέα, αφού οι περισσότεροι απόφοιτοι θα γνωρίζουν τον χειρισμό ΜΟΝΟ των λογισμικών ανοικτού κώδικα. Ένα από αυτά είναι το SageMath. Εδώ θα δούμε πως μπορεί να εγκατασταθεί στο Linux.

ΕΙΣΑΓΩΓΗ

Το Sage (System for Algebra and Geometry Experimentation) είναι ένα ελεύθερο (δωρεάν) λογισμικό μαθηματικών ανοιχτού κώδικα που υποστηρίζει αριθμητικούς υπολογισμούς, και γενικά την έρευνα και τη διδασκαλία στην άλγεβρα, στη γεωμετρία, στην θεωρία αριθμών, στην κρυπτογραφία, και σε συναφείς τομείς. Καλείται συχνά και Sagemath καθώς η λέξη Sage είναι πολύ κοινή.

Συνδυάζει τις δυνατότητες πολλών υπαρχόντων πακέτων ανοιχτού κώδικα (NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib, Sympy, Maxima, GAP, FLINT, R κ.τ.λ.) σε µία κοινή διεπαφή βασισμένη στη γλώσσα Python. Είναι λογισμικό γενικής χρήσης, με δυνατότητες αναλυτικών και αριθμητικών υπολογισμών καθώς και γραφικών.

Ο γενικός στόχος του Sage, σύμφωνα με τον δημιουργό του, είναι να δημιουργηθεί μια βιώσιμη, δωρεάν, ανοιχτού κώδικα εναλλακτική λύση απέναντι στα μαθηματικά λογισμικά: Maple, Mathematica, Magma, και MATLAB.

Η πρώτη δημόσια έκδοση παρουσιάστηκε τον Φεβρουάριο του 2005 ως ελεύθερο λογισμικό. Ο δημιουργός της είναι ο William Stein, καθηγητής μαθηματικών στο University of Washington.

Εγκατάσταση σε Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint

Η εγκατάσταση σε Debian/Ubuntu είναι εύκολη, καθώς υπάρχουν στο αποθετήριο. Μπορείτε εύκολα να τα εγκαταστήσετε με την εντολή:
sudo apt install sagemath sagemath-jupyter sagemath-doc-en

Ο διακομιστής Sage Jupyter Notebook θα εκκινήσει αμέσως μόλις εκκινήσετε την εφαρμογή, είτε από το GUI είτε από το τερματικό.

Εγκατάσταση σε Debian/Ubuntu από συμπιεσμένο αρχείο

1. Μεταβείτε στην ιστοσελίδα των λήψεων και κατεβάστε την έκδοση που αντιστοιχεί στο λειτουργικό σας.

2. Στη συνέχεια αποσιμπιέστε το αρχείο .tar.bz2 που κατεβάσατε.
ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΗ: Φτιάξτε ένα κατάλογο bin μέσα στον προσωπικό σας φάκελο. Εκεί να αποθηκεύετε τα προγράμματα που θέλετε να εγκαταστήσετε (όπως το SageMath). Με αυτό τον τρόπο θα γνωρίζετε ότι πρόκειται για προγράμματα και δεν θα τον πειράζετε. Επίσης δεν θα είστε σίγουροι ότι δεν υπάρχει κάποιος Ελληνικός χαρακτήρας στο path που μπορεί να προκαλέσει κάποιο πρόβλημα.

3. Αφού το αποσυμπιέσατε, μεταβείτε στον κατάλογο SageMath και εκτελέστε το πρόγραμμα sage
./sage

4. Την πρώτη φορά που θα εκτελεστεί το Sage θα σας δώσει μια εικόνα όπως το παρακάτω μήνυμα:
Rewriting paths for your new installation directory
===================================================

This might take a few minutes but only has to be done once.

patching ... (long list of files)

Από εδώ και πέρα, δεν μπορείτε να μετακινήσετε το Sage.

5. Τελευταία κίνηση είναι η δημιουργία συντόμευσης ώστε να μπορείτε να εκτελέσετε το Sage από το τερματικό. Τώρα μπορείτε να δημιουργήσετε την συντόμευση με την εντολή:
$ sudo ln -s /path/to/SageMath/sage /usr/local/bin/sage

Όπου /path/to/ είναι το πλήρες path που εγκαταστήσατε το SageMath.

Μπορείτε να βρείτε περισσότερες πληροφορίες στο wiki του Ubuntu.

Εγκατάσταση σε Arch Linux

1. Εγκατάσταση με την εντολή:
sudo packam -S sagemath sagemath-jupyter sagemath-doc

2. Το SageMath παρέχει και το Jupyter Notebook. Εκτελέστε την εντολή:
$ jupyter notebook

και επιλέξτε "SageMath" από το αναδυόμενο μενού "New...".

Εκκίνηση

Εκτέλεση στο τερματικό με την εντολή:
$ sage -c "notebook(automatic_login=True)"

Μεταβείτε στην διεύθυνση http://localhost:8080/ και εκεί θα μπορείτε χρησιμοποιήσετε το Jupiter Notebook. Επειδή θα χρησιμοποιείτε μόνο εσείς το SageMath, μπορείτε να το εκτελέσετε χωρίς κωδικό.

Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες, μπορείτε να δείτε το Arch Linux wiki.

Εγκατάσταση και χρήση Docker

Όμως τι γίνεται αν έχετε κάποια άλλη διανομή (όπως έγώ με openSUSE); Η λύση είναι η χρήση Docker.

Ψάχντοντας στο hub, βρήκα την διευθυνση:
https://hub.docker.com/r/sagemath/sagemath/

Οπότε εδώ θα δούμε πως θα κάνουμε λήψη, ενεργοποίηση και χρήση του SageMath.

1. Λήψη του θα την κάνετε με την εντολή:
sudo docker pull sagemath/sagemath


2. Αφού κατέβει, μπορείτε να δείτε την λίστα με τα images με την εντολή:
sudo docker images


3. Εκκίνηση του SageMath μαζί με το Jupyter Notebook.
sudo docker run -p8888:8888 sagemath/sagemath:latest sage-jupyter


Αφού εκτελεστεί, δείτε λίγο τα μηνύματα που θα βγάλει. Θα σας εμφανίσει ένα token. Αυτό θα το χρειαστείτε για να κάνετε είσοδο από την διεύθυνση http://localhost:8888 ή την τύπου http://IP:8888.
SageMath στον Browser

4. Αφού τελειώσετε, πρέπει να τερματίσετε τον server και να τερματίσετε το docker. Θα βρείτε το CONTAINER_ID με την εντολή:
sudo docker container ps


Δείτε το ID της και μπορείτε να τερματίσετε με το ID της με την εντολή (αν πχ το ID είναι 3b40632adb78):
sudo docker container stop 3b40632adb78


ONLINE

Υπάρχει και η δυνατότητα να μην εγκαταστήσετε τιποτα. Μπορείτε να βρείτε online τις εξής λύσεις:

1. https://cocalc.com/: Η λύση αυτή είναι επι πληρωμή. Υπάρχει το δωρεάν πλάνο αλλά δεν είναι και τόσο γρήγορο. Μπορεί να περιμένετε αρκετή ώρα μέχρι να έχετε αποτέλεσμα.
2. https://sagecell.sagemath.org/: Ακόμα μια λύση, καλύτερη από το cocalc.

Σημειωματάριο PORTO

Εναλλακτικά του Jupyter μπορείτε να εγκαταστήσετε το Porto από το flathub.

https://flathub.org/apps/details/org.cvfosammmm.Porto

Ή εκτελέστε την εντολή
sudo flatpak install org.cvfosammmm.Porto
Porto notebook


Δείτε πως μπορείτε να κάνετε εγκατάσταση από το πηγαίο αρχείο.

Raspberry Pi 400 | Blathering

I am not one of those individuals who gets the new fancy hardware because I am an Internet nobody and that is just fine by me (as I sulk, rocking back and forth in the corner). That doesn’t mean I am not without my opinions.

Raspberry Pi 400 Kit

I watched a video early in the morning about the Pi 400 on Retro Recipes from the perspective of using it as a kind of retro machine, like an ultimate emulation machine in a compact size. The marketing on the box says it is a “complete personal computer built into a compact keyboard” which interestingly like the Commodore 64 of years past.

Granted, that is a much larger keyboard in comparison but for the time, it was rather compact when compared to its contemporaries of similar performance. The back of the Pi 400 has all the typical ports exposed on a standard Pi 4 so you have available all that was previously available but in a different form factor.

Specifications

This isn’t, by any stretch, an amazingly high performing computer but it is also no slouch. It features a Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.8GHz processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output through 2 micro HDMI ports for 4K video playback, MicroSD Card slot for whatever operating system you plan to run, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port USB-C for power a Gigabit Ethernet port and finally a 40-pin GPIO header so all the fun of the Raspberry Pi is exposed.

It is claimed to have an operating temperature from 0°C to +50°C ambient. I am quite sure that going above 50°C would likely cause some kind of thermal throttling.

Essentially, this is a Pi 4 in a different package with the intent to be manufactured until 2026. That is an incredible length of time.

Design

This machine has the footprint of 286 mm × 122 mm × 23 mm. If you are metric shy, that is 11-¼” x 4-⅜” x ⅞” That makes this machine quite small and indeed compact. According to Perifractic Retro Recipes. The design is solid with just a bit of sponginess on the Enter key, “5% from perfect” was the claim

Picture taken from Retro Recipes Pi 400 video

It is quite obvious with the internals, that this is a completely different design than the standard Pi 4.

Picture taken from Retro Recipes Pi 400 video
Picture taken from Retro Recipes Pi 400 video

I am pleasantly surprised to see this elegantly simple designed board on the interior, not just a Pi 4 with connector wires to the back. It does look like reliability was a factor in the design and manufacturing of this equipment.

I am not sure how many times one would plan on getting to the internals of this computer, as everything for which you need access is on the back, I am concerned about cooling. The CPU is heat taped to the metal shield so that should help with thermal dissipation. I know that some early Pi 4s did have serious issues with getting too hot. That makes me a bit concerned and therefore, I would be interested in seeing what some stress testing would yield on this machine.

Possible Uses

If you have any interest in developing things on single board computers, this is absolutely a great way to work on something to rapidly test it out. Since there isn’t the mess of parts and pieces as you would more likely have with a standard Raspberry Pi, here you plug in the power, the monitor, and whatever you are working on to the back of the Pi4. Admittedly, unless you are developing to deploy this on the Pi 4, some of the specifics may not work on early versions of the Pi. I can’t say for sure but I do know that there are different images for different Pis.

I see a strong propensity for this device to become the “Ultimate Retro Arch machine” that you keep in your living room or video game den. With the keyboard, sturdy case and available USB ports on the back, it would be cost effectively simple to play all the games of yester-year on this without putting at risk of damage, the real hardware. Specifically, I am thinking for those times I do play retro-games with my kids, I do worry just a bit for the safety of my machines.

Although I think there is a better argument for an old netbook, I do think that this would be a great choice for a child’s first computer. It would, perhaps be better, to have them sit properly at a desk and do their typing tutor there or a nice little work station to learn and explore, taking advantage of the GPIO on the back, making wonderful electronics creations which leads me to my last point.

As an inspiration education tool for children or adults. Lets be fair here, this is a toy for an adult, just as much as it is for a child. This is a super cool kit that is more than just an educational tool for youngest of populations. This is a great tool for any age to learn and dig into it that has the vulnerable bits protected. This frees up any apprehension of getting all the right pieces and not having some collection of things that looks like a science experiment, dominating a desktop or workbench. The GPIO pins on this device are shielded from an accidental drop or scoot that might short something out. This is a much safer way to conduct reckless mad-scientist like electronics experimentation

What I Like

The kit looks like the way to go. It has a retail of $100 (though I can’t find anyone selling it at this time) which comes with an official power supply, mouse, HDMI cable and perhaps, most importantly, a beautiful manual that is loaded with pages of all kinds of informative educational excitement. This is essentially an educational tool that comes with a real manual like the days of old. For me, the manual is key. Thumbing through the pages documentation, running my fingers down the inner spine of the book encourage it to stay open and explore all that it has to offer. There is something about that smell of a freshly bound book that makes an experience real and memorable (I realize, I am dreaming here).

The build quality looks more than adequate. I would absolutely gauge my expectations around the $100 mark and wouldn’t try to compare this with a modern Dell Latitude in fit, function and performance. That would be completely ridiculous. Based on other reviews, they keyboard looks to be just 5% from perfect which is more than adequate for me and especially more than adequate as an educational tool.

All the connections are on the back, like in good all-in-one Commodore 64 fashion and is nicely shrouded to protect against accidental shorting of pins or parts on the board. It doesn’t protect against everything but would protect against most accidental clumsiness.

Perhaps most important of all, this is spearhead into he inspiration of future generations to develop and create solutions. It is that first computer you can feel good about giving a child that he or she can take the time to learn and create. This is the beginning of something that is far better than having them plunk away on a phone or tablet being entertained like mindless automatons. This can be used to just just consume but to create and give to the world in which we live.

What I Don’t Like

The case uses clips to hold it together as opposed to screws. I am aware that screws do cause significant increases in manufacturing cost, so I understand the decision to forego case screws. That just happens to be my preference.

There are some incompatibilities between the Pi 400 and the Pi 4. Though I believe it has largely been worked out and since it is Linux that is running on top of the hardware, I am quite certain, through the magic of configuration files, kernel modules can be turned on and off based on the underlying hardware platform.

Since this is an ARM based system, anything that is built to run on top of it is likely to be unique for this specific ARM platform. ARM tends to lack standards across the architecture, which I believe is holding back the wide spread adoption of ARM (among other things). It is at least one reason I don’t just run out and by ARM devices.

Worst of all, I can’t seem to find any place that has them for sale. It looks like it’s sold out! So, all I can do at this point is kick my feat up, dream and wonder about all the fun I could be having with this… until my goldfish-like attention span drifts me off to another intellectual curiosity.

Final Thoughts

This is a great little piece of kit that is essentially a STEM course in a box. The design, the look and from what I can tell by other reviews, build quality are top notch, especially at this price point of $100 for the kit and $70 for the computer/keyboard itself.

I don’t have an immediate use for such a device but I can say that I would love to get my hands on one and play with it. Test it out and see what it can do. I do think it would make for a great Retro Arch machine. Even better would be to run openSUSE on this with all the Retro goodness and even for some productivity.

I think the best use of this particular machine is in education. The cost is low enough that you could buy for a whole classroom without breaking the bank and inspire future generations to develop and create wonderful solutions for the next generation of challenges.

Lastly, why 400? Should I have been making parallels to the Atari 400 as opposed to the Commodore 64? The keyboard on the Atari 400 was awful…

References

Retro Recipes Pi 400 Video
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-400/
Raspberry Pi 400 Specifications
http://www.retroarch.com/
https://www.opensuse.org/

Nov 3rd, 2020

Akademy-es 2020 en línea busca patrocinadores

Aunque este evento está ya muy cerca y sea en línea tiene unos gastos que deben ser subsanados. Además, un evento de estas características es una buena forma de conseguir visibilidad en este extenso y creciente mundo del Software Libre. Así que os comento que es Akademy-es 2020 en línea busca patrocinadores con los que cubrir esos mínimos dispendios y, de paso, poder conseguir algo de financiación para futuros proyectos de la Comunidad.

¿Por qué patrocinar la Akademy-es 2020?

Akademy-es 2019 Vigo busca patrocinadores

Se esperan cerca de 100 asistentes al evento de todo el mundo, ya que por su carácter en línea y el especial horario de sus charlas la Comunidad Latinoamaericana.

Así que se esperan todo tipo de personas al evento: desarrolladores de Software Libre, miembros de la prensa, usuarios, representantes de empresas, etc.

Patrocinando este evento, tu organización recibirá visibilidad no solo en España, sino a nivel mundial en el campo del Software Libre.

El evento tendrá presentaciones de primer nivel de temas relativos a las nuevas tecnologías, incluyendo aplicaciones de escritorio, aplicaciones móviles, desarrollo de software y multimedia. La comunidad KDE ha presentado innovaciones en todos estos campos a lo largo de su historia. Como patrocinador, tu organización tendrá la oportunidad de participar en este entorno creativo y ser conocida por los asistentes.

Akademy-es 2020 en línea busca patrocinadores

Si quieres que tú, tu empresa, entidad o cualquier otro tipo de organización patrocine Akademy-es, como han hecho otras en pasadas ediciones (2014, 2013, 2012,…) simplemente mandar un correo a akademy-es-org@kde-espana.org indicando el tipo de patrocinio que tenias pensado.

No obstante, y para facilitar la colaboración con la organización del evento Akademy-es 2020, KDE España propone las siguientes modalidades de patrocinio, aunque están abiertos a otras modalidades:

Así que, si tienes una empresa o asociación no te lo pienses y presenta tu propuesta.

Más información: KDE España

Noodlings 22 | On the Edge

Click here for the 22nd single serving sized podcast episode

Computers are a tool, it’s a wrench or hammer, maybe more like a drill as it is a kind of power tool. It is there to serve you in whatever the task is. Whether it is organizing and storing information, one of the core functions of computers; entertainment, home security or designing and building something to improve your “foxhole”, it is a tool. Computers can just be fun to tinker around with too. It’s for people who like to mess around with computers and learn how they work as well. It’s for all types. Linux along with the free and open source applications on top of it just happens to be the best solution for me.

Would open source software be the best and most ideal solution? Of course it would, but that is just not the case much of the time. What I do believe is best is that the core and base layers of the operating system are free and open. Having projects like KDE Plasma, Gnome and Xfce which are completely open source Desktop Environments is the key. Should you need some proprietary applications to run on top of it, sure, it is less ideal but much preferred to the whole stack being closed and proprietary.

I run Fusion 360 on my machine as well as FreeCAD, I support the FreeCAD project but I still have some trouble with it. I do think it is getting better but for the time being Fusion 360 is my go-to CAD application because of what it can do so effortlessly. Does that make my system, as a whole compromised? I don’t believe so. Would running only free and open source software be better? Absolutely but that is not where things are today and rather than get upset, I would rather get projects done.

Consider this, if your living was dependent on designing and building widgets and you needed to collaborate with other designers, what would be the best tool for the job? I can’t say for certain what your case may be, but if I were working on a project and collaborating with a team, as a small business owner, Fusion 360 has those tools baked into it. If it reduces the time-to-market enough to offset the costs, it is worth it. If it shortens the development time enough to offset the cost of software, than it is indeed worth it.

On the contrary, if you have developed a method for product life-cycle management while using FreeCAD, and you are able to do all that is required, to include the machining process, just as well. Than go with that application. The bottom line is, you MUST use the tool that works best for you and you shouldn’t receive grief by anybody for it.

Personal computers should be just that, personal, use what is best for you. Should someone choose something different or go down a different path to get to their ultimate solution, even if it is a winding path, that personal discovery is extremely valuable. The best ideas will surface and suppressing the journey is of no benefit to anyone.

Give people space to discover and grow at their own pace. Allow them to figure out their world, show them kindness and grace as they learn and ask questions. Technology is but one vehicle to make our world a better place, positive and supportive attitudes are another. Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do and have that honest conversation with yourself.

Microsoft Edge Browser on openSUSE Linux

I have recently installed and started using Microsoft Edge Browser. It still in the “Development” channel and it is pretty fantastic. The browser works so well, even though it is in development yet. I have received a couple updates on it now. Though I haven’t noticed any differences as of yet, I do appreciate the work being done on it.

I have been one of those individuals that have been the opposite of a Microsoft fan… for many years. I do have to give them credit where credit is due. We can start with Microsoft Basic that was essentially the common thread between the computer in the 8-bit era. Commodore BASIC was licensed from Microsoft and between the different computers of the time, it was very similar with the variations being in how you control graphics, sound and I/O. Fast forward to the 90s Microsoft began down a road of dominance which lead to congressional hearings on monopolistic business practices and later with Steve Balmer telling the world that Linux was a cancer. We are also reminded about their historic practice of “embrace, extend, extinguish” and the numerous law suits that kept Linux and open source software from growing at a greater speed.

Despite all their flaws, when you remove the emotional context and look at their contributions to the technology industry, you will see that there are countless contributions they have made in pushing the boundaries and making technology more accessible. Sure, they made mistakes, we all make mistakes, we are flawed humans running flawed organizations making flawed decisions but that doesn’t mean we should negate the positives because of the negatives. Lets look at today, lets look and see what they are doing today. Should we be weary, sure, perhaps, I prefer the “trust but verify” approach.

Today, Microsoft has been saying that they “heart” Linux. Cynically, you can say, yeah, they heart the money they get from developing and licensing technology for Linux. That is what business does. Now they are building a browser, Microsoft Edge, for Linux. It is based on Chromium and therefore reducing some of the technical liabilities associated with using their own web engine. Would I have preferred they used Firefox’s Gecko engine? Sure, that would have possibly been better but I can’t really say. I think, no matter what Microsoft did, it would cause backlash in the community.

The bottom Line is, Edge is good, it’s real good. I am nothing short of impressed by how it performs. This browser may still be in the “Dev” channel, but it is shockingly good. If I had to choose between Edge and Chrome for my corporate sponsored web browser, I would choose Edge as it does not chomp system resources up like Chrome.

What I Like

The installation process and package manager integration couldn’t be any better. I have already received updates to the browser and Zypper didn’t have a single issue with it. I certainly wasn’t expecting issues but you never know. The bottom line is, openSUSE is a “first-class” Microsoft Edge citizen!

The Edge Browser is a high performance application. It is shockingly lean and fast. If I had to choose between Chrome and Edge, I would choose Edge. The performance and memory usage improvement is not insignificant. I need more time on the browser to give a better performance evaluation and do some side by side tests against my current Firefox preference. Since Microsoft has made openSUSE a first-class citizen means that I am going to do my part to give them a hand in usage reports and the like.

The settings interface may be my favorite I have seen. It is laid out as such that it makes sense to navigate. There isn’t any digging to get to what you want to customize. This does support the claim that it is an easily customizable browser. I say, well done! 

What I Don’t Like

Although you are given a very nice dark theme, it is not my favorite. Also, since I am into the green highlights, I would prefer the theme integrates better into the desktop. This is the only spot that Chrome has an slightly higher mark.

This is a mixed opinion, but I wish there was more in the Edge browser extension repository. You are essentially directed to the Chrome store for things where Edge is lacking. The upshot is, you have access to all the Chrome extensions. Edge is based on the same Blink web engine as Chromium / Chrome in effect, reducing the technical burden on development and opening up a world of extensions. My biggest concern is that the market seems to be drifting to a single browser engine and doesn’t look good for the future of Firefox.

I am not currently able to log into my Microsoft account, which was a known issue. It would be nice if that was working but I am willing to bet that this will be fixed. When this is fixed, I am certainly going to see how well all the associated services work.

This is a nitpick, but the letter casing on “openSUSE” was wrong on the documentation… yeah, I’m certainly grasping at straws to come up with a fourth thing I didn’t like about Edge.

I highly recommend giving Edge a try. If you don’t like Microsoft and refuse to use any of its products, then don’t use it. At the same time, if someone else likes it, let them like it. It’s not your computer anyway.

FISH | Friendly Interactive SHell on openSUSE

I can’t help but to be so super excited about using FISH for my terminal. It makes the terminal alive and interactive. The “F” in FISH should really be “fun” because of how it helps guide you through commands as well as it does. FISH is able to parse the man pages and help you build a proper command to accomplish whatever terminal task you are doing. The Tab key become so much more powerful opening up a menu of options that are easily understandable. It is truly an amazing improvement and if I had my way, this would be the default shell in openSUSE.

I have been totally fine with using Bash, I started on CSH in the HP Unix days, when I went to Linux, I was introduced to Bash and I thought it was pretty great. What I appreciated was the tab-completion on commands. I had heard about ZSH and FISH but since I didn’t have a problem with Bash, I had no desire to change my shell. The interactive nature of FISH makes using anything in the terminal so much better and dare I say, “fun”. Maybe instead of “Friendly” the F in FISH should stand for “Fun”. I really enjoy the terminal a lot more and I believe that making this the default shell for not just openSUSE but all distributions would really help with greater adoption with living in the terminal.

Branded vs Unbranded Laptop Batteries

I have often been cheap on many of my decisions. Since I do have a bit of an addiction to all things tech, I try to do it as least cost prohibitive as possible. That has also gone for batteries for my laptop. I purchased a replacement battery on eBay that was unbranded from my Dell Latitude E6440 to save a few bucks. Not only did it arrive broken, as well as the replacement, the computer didn’t like it. This is like the last unbranded battery I purchased. It would have an affect on the computer performance. The result would often be forcing the CPU to be capped at around 800Mhz. Popping the battery out or using a real Dell Battery and the CPU performance is back to where it should be. The battery also was only at an estimated 94% of life left in the first week, after a week or so, 88% and three weeks later, 78%. Also, these knock off batteries don’t seem to hold up for very long. I had a similar issue with my Latitude D630 as well. The battery would only hold up for three to four months, tops. There is a common thread so I changed my ways.

I purchased a genuine Dell battery this time. A real battery that has the Dell name imprinted on it. The battery health is 100% and there isn’t any crazy CPU governing. It may have taken me 10 years, but I finally learned my lesson. Sometimes, genuine is the better way to go.

Halloween Festive Lights

For the benefit of the towns folk and the trick or treaters, using my Linux-powered Festive Lights, I did a sequence to Ghostbusters with which I was ultimately not pleased. The main reason being, I ran out of time in getting some additional pixel lights mounted and the purple string of LEDs did not flash in time with the musical sequence as I had expected. Any of the effects that were directed towards the pixel LEDs did just as they were supposed to do so that worked out.

One passer-byer asked me how I did it and since I didn’t want to have to give him a full explanation, I just said, as a matter of fact, “Linux”. He accepted that answer and carried on. Maybe he will become curious and look into it but chances are, he will completely dismiss what I said and go on to consume the more traditional forms of entertainment more easily digested.

I am getting ready for the big dance now, this year. I will be adding a lot by means of pixel bulbs on my house. It will likely be a good show and I look forward to what I will be able to share.

BDLL Followup

The bulk of the conversation on BDLL was discussion Utilities and what people use. Rocco was absent so Dan ran the show. The discussion is always intersting, at least, it is for my nerd brain and what I found most interesting how sour some people watching became when we talked positively of the Microsoft Edge Browser. BDLL got its largest number of down-votes I have ever seen and I can’t help but wonder, why?

There were a few visceral comments in the dislike for Canonical as well which I find incredibly disappointing. Canonical has done so much for the Linux Desktop in pushing the design, concepts and emphasizing the need for polish. They have greatly improved application accessibility to many Linux distributions though Snap and do a lot to encourage development on Linux. Do I agree with everything they do? Nope, but I agree with their mission and you have to look at their character as a company, not focus on one or few decisions with which I do not agree.

Microsoft is putting time, people and resources into the Linux desktop. They have given us Microsoft Teams and Visual Studio Code to name a couple. Now they are building a browser, Edge, for Linux as well. Am I a fan of telemetry, no or rather, it depends. If I can give them information to improve my personal experience, yes. I also like it that they are going up against the likes of Chrome as well. Although, they both use the Blink web engine, there is some significant variation in the user experience that is quite welcome.

I am a little disconcerted by the amount of dislike for any company putting resources into the Linux desktop. I understand the lack of trust but to out right show contempt for it is just not beneficial to anyone.

openSUSE Corner

openSUSE Community to Have Kickoff Session for Leap 15.3

The openSUSE community is inviting all stakeholder to join the kickoff for Leap 15.3 on November 4th of this year. This is an invitation to package maintainers, contributors, and open source developers to join the community with a virtual meeting at:

https://meet.opensuse.org/LeapKickoff.

Tumbleweed Roundup

https://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/

Computer History Retrospective

Computer Chronicles – Computer Entrepreneurs (1984)

The computer industry has brought wealth to many people at various levels. Some starting companies that go on to be enormously successful like Apple. Some were able to make great livings and gain historic notoriety many others have fallen into the relative obscurity as time has marched on. The 1970s gave rise to the computer entrepreneurs, mostly wearing, at the time whatever they wanted and just looking to create the best product possible for themselves, as in the case of Steve Wozniak. He was free to define the project as he saw fit so was able to explore and learn. Changes in the early 1980s shifted the industry to become a lot more professional.

The computer industry went from garage bound to billions of dollars in an incredibly short time. Wosniak was very humble about his beginnings and the foolishness of corporations looking down on upstarts, though, largely software upstarts at this time.

It was in the first 10 years or so of the fledgling industry that anyone with the knowledge and a few hundred dollars could start building hardware devices and people would have enough interest to commit dollars to it. The technically creative expressions were wide and varied, also largely incompatible with one another. Very few technically creative products being produced in the world by 1984 and things had already, largely, become commoditized. The computer was becoming more like and appliance similar to a refrigerator or washer where economies of scale were necessary to have a successful business model.

In 1984, it was not believed likely that there could be any new garage or hobby manufacturers but belief in software upstarts were absolutely possible due to the lower economic threshold requiring an application go to market as opposed to a new computer.

Adam Osborn, formerly of Osborn computers, made the statement that there isn’t room for new manufacturers, that business was locked up by and the computer is no longer “high tech” where price and reliability was the driving factor. He also stated that there will never be an IBM in software because you are dealing with $50 products and because of human nature, people will want something very different from one another.

Osborn went on to say that the computers collecting dust and no longer being used were ZX80 and ZX81 but largely served their purpose in the curiosity of getting people interested in the computer revolution. The Commodore 64 was collecting dust for reliability reasons and people just buying new machines because they were so inexpensive. Another guest stated that the IBM clone companies won’t make it because they are not delivering anything new.

It is interesting, looking at this from a historical perspective as IBM is no longer in the PC business and sold it all off because they were not able to hang. There was a software “IBM” called Microsoft or maybe now it is Google, perhaps it is Apple that is, in a way, the giant of today.

Today people are saying things like there is no room for another mobile platform or another desktop environment or another search provider or another social media platform. People are continually making these faulty assumptions and they are largely believed until they are no longer true.

Atari used to be the defacto video game standard until Nintendo and Sega battled it out, only for Sony and Microsoft to gobble up much of the gaming industry and crushing the likes of the Amiga CD32 and Sega Dreamcast.

Think about it, Yahoo and AOL once ruled the Internet and Microsoft was the only seriuos, game in town for office products. The industry is always changing. Linux is now dominant on many areas of technology and Microsoft has pivoted, in many ways, from the desktop and office applications to server or cloud based offerings. IBM purchased Red Hat and pushes open source solutions.

The bottom line is, no one knows what the future holds, just because a company holds the lead in any area, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. This industry is always changing, growing, contracting, morphing and technology is finding new ways to solve problems and waste time. Hang on, enjoy it, stay flexible and like what you like.

Final Thoughts

Not everything in the world is going to be exactly what you want. In fact, it may very well be that what you want does not align with the majority of people. Does that mean you are wrong or they are wrong? No, it means you are a different person. You must find a way to show kindness to everyone, no matter what they prioritize. I believe you have to have faith in people. Short term, things might look bleak but long term, the good ideas will come to the surface. Discern was is good from what is not good and make decisions that you can live with, long term. Be a good neighbor in the digital world as well as the real world. A combination of kindness, patience and grace will ultimately win in every situation.